Great Smoky Mountains National Park has established its first sister park arrangement with Khao Yai National Park in Thailand.
Smokies Park Superintendent Dale Ditmanson and Khao Yai National Park Superintendent Krissada Homsud signed the arrangement today at a ceremony in September.
The two parks share a number of similar resources, such as biodiversity, and concerns. Both parks are the most visited National Parks within their country and face challenges brought by visitor use and nearby development, poaching and pollution. Both parks are popular for wildlife viewing, streams and waterfalls, and lush mountain forests.
“We are honored to form this unique partnership with Khao Yai National Park, which shares so many similarities with the Smokies,” said Park Superintendent Ditmanson. “There has already been an incredible exchange of information.”
Currently, Homsud is traveling in the United States with a group of nine park managers from Thailand through a U.S. Department of State professional exchange program. The participants have met this week with park managers, biologists, entomologists, educators and historians.
“Great Smoky Mountains National Park shares many similarities with Khao Yai, but the Smokies are one step ahead in public involvement in caring for the park and we look forward to learning from their staff,” said Homsud. “In Khao Yai, we still have problems with encroachment and poaching.”